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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

7 hours and counting

I have now been noting in my blog for several weeks my own mental preparations for the new year. Sadly, just because we want things to be one way or another, they rarely are. It is much easier to decide how things should be than to make them so. I dreamed that by today I would magically find happiness and learn to leave my stress behind. My reality is much different.

Try as I might, I can't seem to just settle down and enjoy myself. I think I am being tortured by my own brain and I don't mean the one suffering from MS. Just when I have resolved to make changes in my thoughts, I feel myself giving in to the most destructive ones. It seems I feel best late in the day. Getting started is the hardest and leaving things undone is a killer for my peace of mind. Even when I am pulled by the desire to relax, I just can't seem to. Even my breathing is shallower than it should be.

I have been looking through my "toolkit" (the place I keep reminders of what makes me happy and sane) and the tools still look good. I am just having trouble using them. My husband says that 2009 can't possibly be worse than 2008 so things are looking up. I want him to be right. I seem to have lost perspective on most things and I can come up with a ton of worse scenarios for 2009. Where did I go from the glass half full to seeing it nearly empty?

I am going out with friends for New Year's Eve. I should be excited. The problem is I don't seem to get excited about anything anymore. I am not excited about the coming year either but there is still a part of me that hopes it will bring good things. I will awake tomorrow with a new, clean slate. What will I make of it? Will all my effort eventually pay off and I'll find some new joy? I still think that we make things what they are with our outlook. How can I change my outlook? I have seven hours and I want to bring in the new year with hope and enthusiasm.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Toward a new year's resolution

New Year's resolutions can be so cliched. We promise ourselves to committ to something or to give something up. Maybe we start out the year with a bang but often our resolutions fall by the wayside. Some people might say, "Why make a resolution at all?" I have said that many times myself and yet this year it is a primary drive for me. While I am determined to focus on what's working in my life, it is still abundantly clear that such a focus is not enough to make my life feel good to me. I am craving something more.

I have thought long and hard about what changes I would like to make in myself in the coming year. There are a few but I feel that if I really work hard on just one or two that many of the others may fall into place. One thing that MS has really shown me is that each day is a chance to reinvent oneself. Sometimes this is easier said than done and so I like the idea of looking toward the new year as a clean slate where I can still change my life for the better.

This all leads to my actual resolution. My resolution is to work hard to not allow little things to make me so anxious and overwhelmed. In order to achieve this difficult goal, there are a few things I need to do. I need to stop making mountains out of mole hills. I must accept and enjoy my present because I have no real idea about what I want from the future. There are some things I must do even when I don't feel great or feel apathetic because in the long run, I will beat myself up otherwise. I need to second guess myself and my choices less. I need to find ways to manage little tasks and not let them make me panicky and stressed. I must keep breathing because lately I get myself so spun around that I cannot even achieve this simple yet essential thing.

For months I have been asking myself, what I want but I still don't know. It is alien for me to not have loftier goals and bigger dreams but I do not. Perhaps this is ok or perhaps it is a symptom of my poor stress-management. While it does feel like the worst of my depression is behind me, it just is not gone yet. I can't lie to myself and say I am happy when I am not. I find moments of happiness and small things I enjoy but nothing lasting. I think I find my best times when I am completely present, unconcerned with what is next and I am feeling relaxed. I need to find ways to expand upon this.

I am trying to think of things that I love outside just my husband and my dog. I know I love reading, writing and creating things. I really have enjoyed the job of refashionista but lately I have let it fall by the wayside. I used to really enjoy going shopping and/or putting myself together to look nice but lately it just overwhelms me and I also often feel like I can't find a way to look good although my body has never looked better. I love doing and teaching yoga and so I know that I need to reprioritize it even though there can be an enormous time committment. I like to spend time with friends and family when I don't feel like it's keeping me from taking care of things I have to do. Accomplishing things makes me feel good too. Doing things well also gives me some fulfillment. I look at what I have listed and wonder if it is enough or if I need to find something more. I think that these things will hold me for the short term as I work on my resolution but in the long term, I will need to find other things to drive and entertain me. I will continue to seek answers within myself in the coming year even as I work toward my resolution.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Reflecting on the Light

So dark so long,
Buried beneath the drifts--
Less light every day
Until one could almost suffocate in this frigid tundra.

Yet for weeks I have been seeking
I'm seeking the elusive light.
I see signs of my search everywhere
One commonality to the season,
Always the same
Around the world
Everyone yearns for the light in the darkness and cold.

In the yoga classes I taught last week I reflected every day with my students upon "light." The phrase we always end our classes with is "Namaste" which is often translated as something like, "The light in me acknowledges the light in you." There is this notion in yoga that there is a light shining within each of us. At times I can feel my light shining brightly but at others it seems weak and frozen. Cultures around the world seem to celebrate light this time of year. The solstice marks our shortest day and then from that moment on, we see a little more light every day. I am looking for this source of light within me as the new year approaches and I try to sort out my resolves for the new year. My despair waxes and wanes but I am determined to use the tools at my disposal to shake it off. Sometimes this seems to be a minute-by-minute excercise. Maybe it is harmful to constantly ask oneself, "Am I happy?" Often, I am not but I would settle for abiding content without anxiety. Perhaps that is a light unto itself.

One of my favorite sanskrit songs is about seeking light and a firmer reality. This song inspires me.

"Take us from the unreal to the real
From darkness into light
From death to immortality
Shanti (peace) Shanti (peace)."

I pray now that I find the light within myself as I move toward the new year and I wish the same to my readers.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Feeling like a big *@&!

I hate MS! I don't so much hate it for the physical inconveniences. I hate it for the havoc I have allowed it to wreak on my life and on my mind. I hate it for letting me be comfortable with allowing myself to flake out on people. I hate it for giving me an excuse to be less than everything I can and should be. I hate it for robbing me of the care-free content I felt before. More than MS, I despise myself for allowing myself to become this vampire I am.

I am a vampire. I suck from others and offer nothing in return. I have allowed myself to be a leach, rather than a contributor. At times I am surprised that I have not already driven most of my friends and family away.

Why this storm of self-loathing? I have spent the last few days noticing that something really isn't working and asking myself what I will change in the new year. Several ideas have popped into my head but when I think of executing my ideas, I find myself filled with an ardent desire to just sleep for eternity. In the meantime, as I give in to these urges, I am hurting others. My inclination is always to opt out of everything I don't absolutely have to do if I feel at all ill.

A few weeks ago my mother was in town and I hardly saw her because I allowed myself to succumb to nausea and stay in bed. Lately, confronted with any challenge I choose to stay in bed. I am a basket case. I can't seem to wrap myself around anything and the littlest things alarm and overwhelm me. I feel guilt for not going out. I feel guilty for allowing my husband to take care of so many things. I feel guilty for not showing my husband more often just how much I love him. I feel like a selfish beast. I am not there for my friends the way I should be. Most of the goodness has gone out of life for me and yet I have a good life and I can see the things I should be grateful for.

Somehow I don't think that me wishing I could change is going to be enough to make my new year a better one. I think I am going to have to take many active steps to improve things and yet I find myself paralyzed and terrorized where before I felt strong and determined. Now I must find a way to do a better job at life. I must find a way to be a better friend. I must find a way back toward hopefulness and a desire to do more than just exist through this long life. I don't usually pray but now I am praying for the strength to be more like the woman I used to be.

Friday, December 19, 2008


There are only about six more hours until I officially start my vacation. It can't possibly start soon enough. I'm really feeling like a break and a mental reset is in order. I want to have the time and energy to think about my hopes, plans and dreams for the new year. I am looking forward with anticipation to a fresh start.

Tomorrow my husband and I will be heading out to Minneapolis to visit his mother and grandmother for christmas. We are driving so I'm hoping for some good, or at least decent, weather. Christmas is a big thing for his mom so it should be a fun time. We are looking forward to visiting with some old friends as well. I'll be sure to post a blog or two once I get there. I hope everyone else has a great holiday too.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Not bad for a Monday :)

Lately I have been a bit stressed and overwhelmed but today I am feeling better again. At the moment, I am not worried about anything and I'm not dreading tomorrow. It is a nice change of pace.

The weekend also had its bright spots. On Friday I went to work but that night I went out to dinner for my birthday with my husband and our best friends. We had Ethiopian food and it was really fun. Then they came over for a while. My best friend bought us a new Britta pitcher with a filter. I was pretty stoked on that. She also got me some beautiful earrings. My husband also got me some nice gifts. He got me a cool necklace, an awesome t-shirt and the boots I have been coveting. I had no expectations in regards to gifts or my birthday but I ended up enjoying the attention.

There was more too... I got some great warm up pants and a very sweet card from my mom. My brother brought me a lantern from Laos and an ornamental tobacco pipe. Then, yesterday, to my surprise, we had a family party with several celebrations and one of them honored my birthday so I even got a carrot cake. I know that you're not suppossed to share your wish but I wished that I might continue to find ways to remember all the things that I have and not the things that are not working. Today I remember again so maybe my wish will continue to flower.

My niece had her Bat Mitzvah this weekend. She turns thirteen today. The ceremony was touching and beautiful. I cried at least three times. When I read my section of Torah translation, my little sister and I actually laughed out loud. Jacob had eleven sons. That was somehow funny. My niece did an amazing job with her Hebrew singing and reading. It was obvious how hard she worked. At the end of the whole thing she had to make a presentation about what her Torah passage meant. She chose to write a poem. I thought I could write but... Her interpretation and her poem where almost surreal in their insights. I often see a lot of myself in her. We are certainly different but there is much about the way she thinks about the world and writes that I can really understand. She makes me proud to be her aunt.

I was sick yesterday but today I feel much better. I thought about calling in and didn't. I'm glad I went to work. It was a pretty good day and going in, despite adversity, made me feel good about myself.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Where's the Refashionista?

I am neither here nor there, I'm just in an unexpected slouch. My motivation to do anything that absolutely doesn't need doing lately is zilch. I take care of work. I take care of my house and my chores and then I spend a lot of time laying or sitting and doing nothing hoping my attitude will improve. I am sorry to be such a lame blogger. I have little to post and little to comment on. Sorry if I have not been by your blogs lately. I imagine my next vacation will return a little of my vigor.

My birthday is Friday and I still don't even know what I want to do. I'm not excited at all for some reason. Actually, I'm excited about next to nothing lately but I hope the holidays will change that. My niece has her Bat Mitzvah this weekend and my mom and brother are coming to town for a few days. Perhaps their visit will light a fire under my butt.

That's all I've got...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Things are different

Coming off the results of my latest MRI I should be ecstatic and yet something is troubling me. I still don't feel like I did pre-MS. Yes, my health is less predictable and I tire easily. Yes, I get more stressed and anxious than I used to. Yes, my vision isn't what it used to be but that's not the real issue.

Last night I was at a surprise 30th birthday for a friend and I was hanging out with the birthday girl and some of her friends. Somehow they got to talking about how they still didn't feel grown up despite their age and in that moment, I realized that I do feel grown up. I don't just feel grown up, I feel old.

This realization was another big reality check. Right before I was diagnosed my husband and I went to Vegas to party. At that time it was fun to know that I looked great, I could stay up most of the night and I had few responsibilities in the world. We had long resolved not to have kids, primarily because we didn't want to have all that responsibility and we didn't ever want to grow up.

I know now where my thinking changed. Until early last year I felt invulnerable. I was fit, healthy and young-looking for my age. I imagine it is common to believe that you won't lose your health or suffer any major life-changes outside your control. That is exactly how I viewed things. When I learned that I had MS, I couldn't even believe it. Even now it's hard to believe that I'll ever get really ill or have to quit working (maybe I won't). On the other hand, I also know now what it is to feel vulnerable. I no longer assume if I feel sick that I'll just get better. I also no longer have the confidence that I used to. I don't dream or look ahead much anymore. I know that this will need to change so I can be truly happy but one MRI has not done the trick. I don't think I can go back but I need to find ways to move forward to.

If someone were to ask me what the hardest part about having MS is I think I would tell them that it is the mental and life adjustments that are the most taxing part, not the physical pain. This is probably a little different for everyone but for me the daily battle with my own mind is really the hardest part.

Friday, December 5, 2008

MRI Results

Well the results are in and they are very positive. I have no new lesions! I was also delighted to learn that my existing lesions have actually grown a bit smaller since my last MRI. I actually did not know this was possible. Can they disappear too? I didn't think they could but someone on another blog mentioned that some of their's have. Has this happened to anyone else?

I have not been feeling all that great the last two weeks or so, first headachy, achy and a little nauseaous last week, then this week a cold but the MRI results really lit a fire under me. I even stayed late at work so I wouldn't have to bring stuff home. Anyway... something I'm doing must be working so I'll stay mellow, watch my diet and stick with the yoga and hope that the future comes in a promising fashion.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


On Monday I went for my third MRI in six months so now I consider myself an "expert" (LOL). Seriously though, this time in the tube felt old hat. I really just chilled, spaced out and planned this post. It occured to me that someone who has never had an MRI might be interested in reading a little about what my MRI experience has been like so here it is in brief.

The first time I ever had an MRI it was on my brain. I got it because a few weeks previously I had an irregular CT after the start of a bout of horrible vertigo. At the time I went for my first MRI I was so dizzy and weak that my husband had to bring me in with a wheelchair. I was wearing a transdermal, anti-nausea patch at the time to keep me from puking but when I got there the technician said I had to take it off because it had metal on the inside and you can't wear metal into the MRI machine. I also had to remove my tongue ring which had been in for over twelve years. I let it close at that point but I was much more disturbed about the prospect of having my head slid into a plastic sheath and my body shoved into a narrow tube when I did not have the patch to rely on to control my nausea.

My husband helped me into a gown and wheeled me close to the room for my MRI. I felt sick and scared. The technician took me in and was very reassuring. They gave me earplugs (because the machine is very loud), strapped in my head and slid some sort of plastic contraption with holes in it over my head. They also gave me a "panic button" to hold in case I got sick, scared or claustrophobic. When I looked up, I could see the technician in the next room revealed in a little mirror above my head. I was still sort of scared. The tube was tight and the helmet was tighter. I told myself to take deep breaths. I started singing in my head. Then I started singing out loud. The machine rattled and I sang for several minutes. Suddenly the technician's voice blared into the room. "You can't sing, you're moving. You have to lay still. We are going to redo this test. If we can't get a clear picture, we will have to reschedule." I was sobered by that. Who knew you had to be so still? I got through it all in about twice the normal time but I was ok.

My second MRI was of my cervical spine. I felt better and was much less nervous. This time I noticed things. It is hard to be perfectly still in the tube. They actually run a series of tests while you are in there. The pallet you lay on moves a little before each new test. Each test feels and sounds a little bit differently. If you breath deeply it goes more smoothly. It is actually not frightening at all unless you are claustrophobic...

My MRI the other day was the smoothest. I knew what to expect. I took a quarter Klonopin to help me remain calm and still. While I lay in the tube I just practiced breathing and meditating. It was easy to stay still. The whole thing went quickly and the experience was restful. All that's left now is the results and I don't expect those quickly. I am unafraid of the outcome. I already know what to look for and I realize this is not something I can control.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Interview on Health Central

Hello all. I am honored to be this month's interview on Merelyme's (Merelyme)Health Central Page. Click on here to read the whole thing and be sure to check out Merelyme's Blog and other work as well.
Happy reading,

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The eternal climb

I just noted a headline stating that the oldest person in the U.S. died today. This is actually a tangential way of getting to my point. Yahoo! may have tips on longevity but I think one of the biggest indicators lies in the mind. One has to want to live and find reason for living in order to reach a ripe old age. I imagine this woman must have had that.

I always imagined I would live to be pretty old but at a certain point it occured to me that maybe that is not even what I want. My desire to live hinges on a number of outside factors. If I am going to live long, I want to live in a world that is still worth living in. I want a viable environment without too much pollution, disease, scarcity and global warming. I need people I love around me and I need reasons and purpose for living. A few weeks ago I made a dramatic post about being "cured" of my mental ailments. That might be a stretch. Every day is a challenge. I meet some better than others and overall I now know better how to deal with my angst.

Living! is still an eternal climb. Some days it is easy. I can often see many reasons to go on trying and to seek happiness but I also must continually refocus my mind in order to keep myself from dwelling in dark places.

One of the things I notice most about life since MS is that I am easily overwhelmed. Little tasks seem big. I am in continual fear of overcommitting. I still often psyche myself up for things by planning my next nap. My anxiety is often directly tied to the feeling that I can't take care of everything or to a sort of mental paralysis that keeps me from even starting. Sometimes the week stretches before me and it is hard to imagine how I will make it both physically and mentally. Mole hills are now mountians and while I recognize this, it is often hard to reframe my thinking.

There is also of course the guilt. It has dulled to a simmer but still I feel it. Part of the guilt comes from being overwhelmed. I am angry at myself for feeling that way. There have been so many times this year where I have pushed through discomfort and illness in order to take care of things and yet the thought of doing so still overwhelms me. I have three weeks before I leave town again and only a few things outside work to take care of and yet I still doubt my ability to take care of things. I see clearly what a lovely life I have and yet I am still operating under notions of scarcity about time and resources.

Even with the tools at my disposal, living with enthusiasm remains an eternal climb. I think that little of this has to do with MS and most of it is quite normal but I do find I sometimes envy people who spend more time acting and less time thinking about it. I even find that at times I envy those who can just lose themselves in other things with little room for thought at all about their relative happiness or unhappiness. My "cure" lies only in my own mind and my own ability to control or not control it on any given day. On the bright side, today is ok.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

The day dawned here in Northern California with a heavy fog but now it has burned off and the sun is shining brightly. I too awoke feeling foggy. My head ached and my limbs were heavy. A few ibuprofin, some caffeine and a delicious breakfast cheered me.

Like the clouds, my spirit has now lifted and I am enjoying time with my husband's family. Soon their other guests will arrive. The kitchen where I am sitting is festive with thanksgiving preparations and I am looking forward with anticipation to our shared meal.

This respite from work and home responsibilities has offered a much-needed chance to rejuvenate and reflect. I am reminded again that this is a good life, even when there are bumps in the road. I hope today that all my readers are fortunate enough to be spending some quiet time with people they cherish. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Giving Thanks

I am thankful that tomorrow afternoon I get to go on vacation for five days. By this time tomorrow, I'll be packing up to go to California to see my in-laws. It is quite possible I won't be able to get on the blog for a few but I am enormously thankful for the vacation.

Ever since I was a kid we have gone around the table at thanksgiving dinner and each person has named what they are thankful for. Although it is a family tradtion, I have never really liked it before because my responses always seemed forced or aimed at pleasing. This year I feel different. As I try to remember daily and weekly what I am grateful for I just keep thinking of more things.

I am grateful to be part of the family I am going to see. I am grateful that my own family will meet up in one place and tell each other what they are thankful for while they enjoy a "deep fried" or "blackened turkey." I am thankful that nowdays there is a great tofurky for vegetarians so I can really join the festivities. I am also grateful that all signs point towards a work-free vacation.

Above all, I am grateful for all the love and support I get from people in my life. I am thankful for all the little things my friend and department head continually does for me. I am also grateful for the caring of other close colleagues who help me make it successfully through every day. There are not enough ways for me to say how much I appreciate my friends. I often feel regret that I do not offer them more in exchange. I am most grateful for my husband who gives me a reason to get up every day. The caring and support he has shown me over the last few months is unbelievable. I appreciate all the big and small things he does for me every day and I really appreciate the way he continues to listen even when I speak in circles.

I am lucky! I have love. I have comfort and I still have a job. While I cannot clothe the hungry or protect the innocent, I send forth my greatest goodwill and prayers to all those in suffering and need around the world at this moment.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Thoughts

I better keep this quick... My husband just complained that I spend too much time on the computer. Let me clarify lest I be labelled a junkie. I spend one hour a day at most but unfortunately this hour tends to fall between 5:00 and 6:30 on any given day right when he gets home. I guess it's time for some reshuffling of my schedule. Hmmmm...

Let me apologize now to those blogs I neglect during my busy week and my now limited computer time. I still love ya and I'll try to come by if I get any time to myself.

This was the best week of work I have had in a long time. The kids settled back in to the new term and the chaos in my room was greatly scaled back. I also seem to be getting more outside support for my classes. I have paras twice a day now and a special educator who comes in regularly. I have even had some support getting difficult kids out of my room.

I believe that a change in my attitude has also partly acccounted in the changes I am experiencing at work. I still can't seem to get excited about work but I don't dread it the same way anymore. One of the biggest recent changes in my life has been my new ability to catch myself when I am about to start freaking or stressing out. I have not gotten to the point where I don't react to things but I have gotten to the point where I notice my own reactions more. I may not control my reactions in the moment but I am not letting myself slip into a long, drawn out state of emotional discomfort. It is true that we cannot control all the things that come to pass in our lives but we can control how we deal with those things. I think I am slowly learning to do this. Again I find myself connecting to breath as the key to this process. When I feel myself getting stressed I remind myself to slow and deepen my breathing. It really seems to help. Like the yoga I do on my mat, this is a practice but I am excited to realize that I can do so much with my own mind.

Monday, November 17, 2008


No silly, I still have MS but today my therapist told me that I don't need to schedule another appointment. It seems my tool kit is up and working and that I know how to use it to fight depression and anxiety. Her affirmation of me helped me affirm this shift for myself. I feel hope. I am remembering who I am and what I am about. I am accepting the changes in myself and my life. I can smile and laugh again. Tomorrow and the rest of my life are not a burden. The sun will shine and I will bathe in its light.

Choose joy.
Choose to smile.
Choose faith.
Choose the glass half full.
Choose hope.
Choose gratitude.
Choose laughter.
Choose life!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I have noticed that yoga teachers and meditation teachers alike often talk about finding equanimity. There is something beautiful about that word "eqanimity." It fills me with visions of a perfect peace in the body and the mind. I crave the equanimity and sometimes I find it in my own yoga and meditation practice. More and more I am trying to create these feelings beyond the mat and take them into my life.

I have also noticed that my mind is often in a cluttered place in which my yearning to be entirely present is lost in a jumble of worries about things I can do little about in the moment. In the midst of a break, a weekend or a yoga practice, I will find my thoughts drifting towards little worries that cannot be solved in that instant and things that need not constantly trouble me. I believe it is when I allow these things to overtake my mind that I cultivate depression and anxiety. When I merely notice these things as "mindfulness" suggests and then let them float by like objects in a stream, I feel much more peaceful inside. It is a slow road but I think I am learning to better control my thoughts.

About four days ago I decided to just be happy or at least content and things got easier. When I find myself fixating on irrational worries, I push these things from my mind. I have chosen to focus my thoughts and energy on the small things I look forward to. I think this is positive. There was a while there where I could find nothing to look forward to and nothing to appreciate. My sun stopped shining. Then, about two weeks ago, I started to notice pinpoints of light in my self-induced darkness. There have been many times since then when I have found myself fixated again on what's not working. At these points, I have had to work very hard to keep my mind from getting lost again in those dark places but I am determined to enjoy what peace and happiness I can find when I can find them. I have renewed my efforts to do the things I enjoy and to spend time with the people in my life who make me feel good. The more of this I do, the less guilt I feel about the things I am not doing.

I realize that I need balance in my life. I may spend a lot of time at work and that may often get me down but still, that is not my whole life, nor is it who I am. Yesterday's invocation of things I am grateful for reminded me just how many things there are outside my job that define me and bring me joy almost every day. This weekend I was able to live almost entirely in the moment. Today I can say that despite some health issues, this was a good weekend. I got to do everything I wanted and needed to do just by balancing my time and thoughts in ways that made sense. Tomorrow I will continue to seek balance as I move through my day.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


One of the things I have been trying to focus on lately is all the great things I have in my life. I was reading in "Yoga Journal" about the positive impact that gratitude can have on ones life. The article stated that people who regularly remind themselves what they are grateful for tend to be more satisfied with life. I can certainly see why this could be the case. When we stop and take the time to remember the great things in our life, they tend to outweigh the negatives. I know this is true for my own life. When I look back at the year before my diagnoses, I see that just about everything I ever dreamed of had fallen into place. Almost all those things are still there so I have a great deal to be grateful for.

In think I need to take the time more regularly to remember how good I really have it so perhaps I'll try to do this more often. Today I am grateful for many things. I am grateful for my mind. I am especially grateful for my loving husband. My pets give me great satisfaction with their unconditional love. I have an awesome, accepting family and most of them are here in Denver. They invite me places and let me be myself. They don't burden me with unrealistic expectations and as I have changed and struggled, they have supported me rather than finding fault in the changes I have gone through.

I have had an amazing education. I get to continually learn and challenge myself with my job, even when it is hard. The things I do at work mean something no matter what. I have caring supportive friends at my job and some kids that I really connect with.

I own my own home! I have a new car. I get to go to yoga and teach it all the time. Even more importantly, I have lots of love from my friends, family, pets and husband.

I listen to the news and I am reminded just how much so many people globally have lost and suffered in recent times, then I look at my little worries and they are nothing. People are constantly losing their jobs and their homes and I still have both. I never want for food or shelter. I get to enjoy small luxuries all the time. While I have small health challenges, overall I am doing great six months after my diagnoses. I have so many reasons to be positive and hopeful about my future. This short journal hardly scratches the surface of just how lucky I am and how much I have to be grateful for. I will have to write more about this again soon.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Why do the "good" die young?

I lost a student last night. I found out right when I walked into work today. Last night "Jorge" was involved in a fatal motorcycle accident.

I don't want to talk about his death. I want to talk about what I knew of his life.

Jorge had the ability to light up a room. He was friendly and charasmatic. He had a huge smile that made others feel great. Jorge understood respect. He was and is a credit to his beautiful family. Sometimes reading and writing were hard for Jorge but he always did his best in class. He worked hard and did his homework. Lately teaching has been hard for me and sometimes I would think about Jorge to get myself to go to work. He truly exemplified what a teacher seeks in a student.

Last Friday I found a card in my box. It was a hand painted card from Jorge. It says, "Thank you for helping me become a better reader." That card made my day. No, it made my year. I have Jorge's card on my bulletin board.

I will always remember Jorge as a bright patch in the center of a decaying school.

I walk away asking, "Why did it have to be this one?"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Neurologist Visit etc...

I had the day off so rather than just chilling, I went to a few appointments. I started at the dentist. I was not surprised to be scolded for my poor flossing and tartar build up. It is clear that I have been neglecting many things since my diagnoses and my teeth is one of them. I still got off pretty easy. I have to go for a cleaning and for one filling at the end of December. I need to floss better and use mouth wash for a while but nothing too bad. They are watching a spot on my lower gum for mouth cancer but the spot has always been there. The one thing that does concern me is that when I took the time to really examine the spot, I noticed that it has changed. I am keeping my fingers crossed because mouth cancer is the last thing I need. I used to think I was invincible but cracking my sternum last year and learning I had MS has taught me not to take health for granted.

After the dentist I was really tired. My exhaustion has increased almost exponentially over the last few days but I actually feel much better these days than I have in a while. I combatted the fatigue today much as I have been. I put some caffeine into my system and then continued on with my day. It was really hard not to rush home and go back to bed but instead I drove out to my sister-in-law's house and taught her yoga for an hour. That was probably the highlight of my day. When I left there, I quit resisting sleep, came home and went back to bed for about an hour and a half. I felt like I could just keep sleeping but my alarm got me up just in time to go to the neurologist.

The neurologist visit went well. He did not push any new meds on me but he did order another MRI so we can ascertain if I have any new lesions since I have been having a lot of little symptoms since my first exacerbation. I go for the MRI on December 1st. I am quite optomistic that I will not have new lesions. It seems that if I don't, he will not recommend any interferons for now. We both agreed that we can keep that course open if things worsen or my lesions multiply but for now I can continue to wait and see.

My neurologist said that I am doing well. He gave me a few suggestions for the fatigue too. He said he can put me on meds but we should try to avoid that if possible. He suggested caffeine, cardio and pushing through the fatigue with activity as much as possible. He also said I was sleeping too much. I think he's right but boy is that sleep tempting. I suspect that if I cut back on the sleep, I may have more energy but it is going to be hard. I am less depressed these days then I was but sleep has become like an elixir to combat anxieties and discontent. I also suspect that if I do as he says, in time I will feel better during my waking hours but this is going to be a challenge.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Journal 11/10/08

"We can transform with grace, or we can go through life kicking and screaming. We can flow through our experiences like we flow through our yoga poses. We can hold our breath, or we can deepen it and move past every obstacle. We have a choice to either go through life kicking, screaming and miserable or to fill each experience with breath, grounded only in the moment. We can use breath to anchor ourselves in the present. We can use it to guide ourselves through life's challenges. Trust that you can breath through anything."

I often use words like these to guide my yoga students. When I hear similar words from other yoga teachers, I am reminded just how important this is. I can find serenity by being absolutely present, breathing and trusting or I can cause my own suffering through a series of mental contortions. I think I want to take my own words of wisdom and live by them.

Something in me is shifting. It is subtle but I feel different. I still worry but less now... Obstacles still trouble me, but maybe not as much. I'm starting to see my most recent dramas as a hiccup in a long life. I can't claim that I have found all the answers I seek or the self I want to unearth but something is different. I think what I feel is perspective and hope.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Slowly Crawling Forth

When I look back to last Sunday it seems I have come a long way. A week ago at this time I was ill and depressed. Last Monday was really rough too. I was so frustrated because I have been trying so hard to get back on track and to feel good about myself and my life.

I think things started to shift for me a little last Tuesday. I woke up and actually felt excited about something. I was excited for the election. By the time I went to bed on Tuesday, Barack Obama was the president elect. I could see a real reason for hope and excitement.

Wednesday was not perfect but I found I again had reason for hope. That was the day I met a fellow MSer at work and started to get things more in perspective.

Thursday was the first day I used a "to do list" to get focused. It made me feel a lot better about what I had accomplished because I had something tangible to grab onto. I have gotten several pieces of advice to focus more on what I have done than what I have not. I have noticed that by making a list and checking things off I feel like I have done more of value with my day.

Friday was also ok. There is nothing spectacular to report but things went fine.

Saturday I was really busy. I did about four hours of grading and went to yoga. I also went to a nice family party and got to see everyone for the first time in a while. Then I went out and saw my best friend dj and got a chance to visit with her and some other friends. I was exhausted and didn't stay out that late but I was proud of myself for getting dressed up and making it out to two different places to catch up with people.

Today had its bright spots too. I slept in a little because I was still so tired but once I got up, I had some coffee and started on my latest to do list. Although I only had about an hour before yoga, I managed to finish my grading and take care of several little things I needed to do before class. I got to class and again I actually felt really great and excited about something. The class felt amazing. I looked in the mirror and I saw the old me again. I remember how in the past just going to yoga filled me with feelings of peace and power. Today I felt that for the first time in a long time. I practiced next to the regional manager of the studio where I go. That was awesome because she embodies the teacher I would like to be. Just practicing next to her made the class extra special. When I walked out of the studio, my heart was filled with joy.

I am beginning to notice this joy in short bursts again. So far it is not lasting but it gives me the encouragement to keep seeking more of it. I am starting to see myself beyond my job again. It seemed for quite some time there that my job was me and that was terrible because I felt like things were going so poorly. Honestly, I'm not sure they are all that much better now but I can see little evidences of student learning here and there so I suspect I have not screwed them up too badly. I also see it is not all on me. All I can do on any given day is my best. I think some of my self-scrutiny has come because of comments made to me by my department head and one of my friends at work. I see that while they mean well, I can't take every word they say to heart. Neither one is in my room and even if they were, how much better would things look? Even if they did look better, should I really beat myself up when I know how much thought I give things or how much effort I put in each day? I want to find a way to more regularly see myself the way I saw myself in yoga today. I was strong, fierce and beautiful and I knew what I was all about. For a little while, I really loved being that person. Perhaps I am slowly beginning to crawl forth.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Update 11/06/08

Not too much to tell today. I felt a little funky when I woke up but once I got out of bed I started to feel much better. It took a little will power to get myself going but once I psyched myself up it wasn't too bad. I made a to do list in my head while I got ready rather than focusing on potential problems I might encounter in my day. The to do list did help. At the end of my plan period, I had just finished checking off everything on my list. That kind of gave me a boost all day because I felt like I had accomplished something and I had managed to stay focused despite the urge to aimlessly multi-task. I was actually kind of proud of myself. I felt a little like the old me.

The day overall was decent. I even stayed after school and did a little work and let some kids work in my room.

When I got home I did a few things around the house. I realized as soon as I got here that I was exhausted. I did a ton of facilitating and direct instruction today and it wore me out. Neverthless, not too bad. A lot of people have been advising me to focus on the little successes and not stress about things that don't get well. With this in mind: today is a good day.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Brain Dump

So I just have too many ideas and things flashing through my mind to focus on one so I'm just going to dump for a minute and let it all come out as it may.

This is a day for hope. On my way to work and on my way home I listened to NPR and the post election coverage. A great deal of the news and stories I heard almost brought me to tears. I am overwhelmed at the enormity of this election's place in history. I am daring to dream again that we really can combat what often looks like a bleak future. I needed to be inspired and this inspires me.

I am inspired butI am still unfocused. Despite the realization of one of my greatest hopes, I am still struggling to get my own head on straight. I find I am distracted, moody and easily irritated. Nothing seems easy anymore. My mind cannot seem to create a simple list of what to do next or how best to focus my limitd energy. This makes me frustrated and the more frustrated I feel, the harder it is to yank myself out of the funk. While I aspire to look more than a day ahead, something is holding me back. I keep thinking, "If I could just concentrate more or work harder things would get better." Somehow, I don't think this is going to be a mind over matter thing although my husband insists it is. Apparently, if I just decide things will be better, then they will. The problem is I try to make that intention every day but then I find my senses overloaded and my mind abuzz and the control I seek is still not there.

This has troubled me for some time. I am ok with learning to cut myself some slack but I am not ok with having so little control over my own mind or ability to concentrate. I am like a sailboat, carried by the wind with nothing to tether me. I do not like this at all.

This sudden onslaught of ADHD-like behavior and symptoms is not helping me to feel better about myself or my ability to control my situation. Until now, it has just been another thing to feel bad about but today another woman at work came and told me that she too has MS and we had the time to chat for awhile. It helped me a bit to commiserate in person with someone else who seems to be going through similar things. She said that she even takes Ridlin sometimes to focus. Hearing that actually made me feel better. Here I just kept wondering why I felt so spacey and empty-headed, only to learn that someone else feels this way too. While it doesn't fix my problem, it makes me regard myself with less severity for having the problem. Does anyone else out there have this issue? What do you do to help you concentrate?

I was thinking about just making giant "to do" lists to help me focus on what to do next but I'm not sure because sometimes giant lists just stress me out or make me worried about what I'm not doing. Today I tried just doing things as I thought of them so I wouldn't procrastinate or add the mental stress of another thing left for tomorrow. It did help a little but I also found myself doing several things I did not plan to do at all. Maybe that was actually for the best, I'm not sure.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Through the wringer

I'm sure yesterday's post made it quite apparent just how awesome I have been feeling. This day started even worse because despite my best-laid plans, I woke up sick again. I awoke around 3:00 feeling awful. My whole body ached, my stomach and head hurt and my mouth was parched. I got up and took ibuprofin and dreamed of awaking hours later feeling fine. Alas, I awoke again at 6:00 feeling about the same. I slept fitfully until 8:00 (the time I plannned to get up for yoga) and realized that going to class was a pipe dream. I also planned to walk with my sister at 10:30 so I reset the alarm with visions of at least doing something with myself today. I was up again at 9:00 full of guilt about the time I had already laid in bed and the realization that I was going to do more of it. I had a message from my sister canceling the walk but I was relieved because I still felt awful.

I lay in bed for two more hours after that feeling guilty and awful. I was angry at myself for not pushing through. I was angry at myself for not "changing" despite my best intentions. My mind has clearly become my own worst enemy. It won't let me rest when I need to rest. The guilt about not doing better, being better and needing help rarely lifts and yet deep down, I know this is part of why my mental state remains so often tenuous. So many people have listened and reached out to me and yet I am unhealed. I realize that is because this is one demon I have to wrestle alone. Even throughout my mom's careful coaching, I found I did little except loathe myself and create excuses. I did decide to accept the help my husband kept offering so at least I eventually ate and had tea.

After that, I called my friend and we spoke at length for the first time in a long while. I discovered that her daily existence has been as much if not more of a struggle than mine of late. We talked about our shared past that has left us both with high levels of undefined anxiety. We also talked about our tendencies to mentally spin small things into mountains. It seems we also share the feelings of inadequacy and guilt. As she spoke, I just wanted to tell her to be easier on herself. I realized that I need to take my own advice. Even if all the beliefs I have built up about my failures of late are grounded in reality, I can do nothing to remedy them if I constantly dwell on my mistakes. At least for the short term, my guilt has lessened. I cannot know how long this will last but at least now I can acknowledge that I made a good choice today when I just allowed myself to rest. The end of this suffering may not yet be within my grasp but perhaps it's the little stuff that gets us through the day that matters.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Paradigm Shift

I want to make a paradigm shift. I find myself still wallowing in a mold that is unproductive and unwholesome. A few days go by and I feel ok but the slightest upset and I'm off-kilter again physically and emotionally. People keep telling me to be easier on myself but really I have become a needy, self-centered loser of late and I hate that in myself. The more I hate that, the more I tell myself to snap out of it and find a way to be a productive citizen again.

Lately, MS has become a convenient excuse for my inability to get my shit together. I'm tired, I can always skip cooking. I feel sad, I can always moan about it to someone else. Things aren't going well at work, I can blame the kids or the system. Honestly, the problem is me. Yes, I don't feel that well most of the time but this is my life now and so I need to find a way to accept it and quit feeling sorry for myself. I keep waiting to magically snap out of it but I am beginning to realize that is just not going to happen. It might almost be easier without any good excuses.

I keep resolving to myself that I am going to make the shift. I tell myself that every day is a new start. I remind myself that it's a pretty good life. Fifteen minutes pass and I hate myself again because I can't shut off the negative, destructive thoughts. Something has to give. I gave up the anti-depressants and I don't think I really got worse but I also never thought they made me better either.

I feel angry and frustrated with myself for cycling through the same miseries and pitying myself for the same crisis over and over. Even by writing this, I am wallowing. I realize this and yet I feel compelled to just keep writing it anyway.

I have been tampering with my own marriage. The worse I feel, the more bullshit, insecure things I do. The other day my husband joked that if anything happened to him, I would have to take care of him the way he takes care of me. The idiot in my head actually allowed me to say, "I wouldn't do it." Is that really how I feel? No, I love him to distraction but I curently hate myself enough to know that I wouldn't want to take care of me. In the past he has always said that I am a much better person than he is. That's just not true. I could not tolerate me. I wouldn't want to do the extra cooking or housework. I would resent living with someone who was always down or sick. I would also resent receiving nothing for my efforts. Does this mean I don't love Matt enough to take care of him? No, it just means I am super self-absorbed and self-centered. Yuck, I can't stand people who always put themselves first yet there I am. The more disgusting part... Although I have resolved to think more about others and take my head out of the sand, it is unlikely that I will really follow through with this.

I want a shift but I don't really want to do anything to make it happen. Probably shouldn't post this but...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The seduction of soma

For a few weeks now I have felt like I am starting to come back from the abyss of mental darkness I had succumbed to. This is not to say that everything has been peachy, but I seem to have ditched a large portion of my anxiety. I am no longer faced by the question, "why live?" It does not mean that I really know all the reasons why I want to live, or that I am filled with inspiration. I just don't long for death. It's not quite as hard to get myself to do things now or at least I don't suffer the way I did a month ago. Still, I am bogged down by a moderate degree of blues and an enormous lack of motivation. I used to hate procrastination, I still do, but now I can't seem to help myself.

Lately, my greatest allure is sleep. I like the all-consuming kind in my own comfortable bed. Sometimes I feel like I could just stay there for eternity if I could just stop waking up with thoughts of tasks undone. I often get little gratification from the tasks when I do them but once I have done at least something, I don't feel so bad about sleeping some more. When I have a day before me I think of what I want/need to do and in the back of my mind, no matter how hard I try to banish the thought is: "When can I take a nap?" The nap is like my reward. I am not sure if this is because I feel so tired most of the time or if I feel so tired because I'm still a bit depressed. I don't feel crushed by life anymore but I am overwhelmed by all the obstacles in my nap schedule (Lol).

I have called in sick for the last two days because like it or not, my body finally seemed to succumb completely to the exhaustion. I awoke on Tuesday morning with a bout of vertigo that left me dizzy, unsteady and nauseaous. At the last minute I called in, knowing I couldn't drive with my disoriented vision, growing panic and unsteadiness. When I went to puke, my nose bled. I got back into bed to find the room spinning. I took some Dramamine and after a few hours, the vertigo cleared. I was left feeling weak, sore, tired and headachy. Numbness and tingles still continue to flash through my hands and feet at intervals but I have not found this incapacitating.

When I finally spoke to my doctor, I was trying to decide about going to work today. I was ready to do it, having conquered the vertigo but he said to take the day to rest and watch my symptoms. I was releived to hear that because I can rarely give myself permission to back off. I am pulled between two poles, the desire to sleep and lay around and the guilt that makes me ask, "Why does everything have to seem so overwhelming? I used to do all this before with no problem." When I go back to work, I will inevitably think these thoughts. I will be overwhelmed by the work I allowed to idle in my absence. I will question if it was worth it to use two days of emergency sub plans because now I'll have to give my weekend to my usual work and to getting new plans made up in case this happens again.

Even knowing that I have MS does not free me from the guilt. I should be doing more at home, more at work and more for "fun." I don't want to struggle under low grade depression. Without the MS, I really have nothing to be upset about and even crying about the MS is like crying over spilled milk. So I have pretty much stopped the whining but I can't seem to resist the seduction of sleep. When I embrace it without guilt, it is amazing. When I try to enjoy it and the guilt creeps in, the pleasure is tainted for me. Even at home, sick, I feel guilty about my desire to sleep and sleep and sleep. I hope my two day recovery hiatus in dreamland minimizes my desire for sleep because I expect a butt-kicking when I go back to work.

Monday, October 27, 2008

There's "a little something every day."

I spoke to my mother earlier and she asked how I was doing. I responded with, "Some days are good and some days are tougher." Overall, I feel much better both physically and mentally.

I remember the words of the first fellow MSer I ever met in person. I asked her about living with MS and how it affected her life. She said that overall things were good. She excercised, went to work and did weekly injections of Avonex. The Avonex always left her a little ill the next day but generally she felt pretty decent. One thing she did say that has stuck with me is: "There's a little something every day." She said you learn to deal with it. You find out what you can and can't do. You learn when to take breaks or take a rest. You may never be able to do the things you did before but you learn what you can do.

I am finding her words very true. Most of the time I feel pretty good. My balance is solid and I continue to make it through my work day with little physical trouble. Still, there are little issues just about every day. Sometimes it's just fatigue. Other times its irritable bowels, nausea or a headache. There is sometimes achiness in my body. Lately I have noticed short bouts of numbness and tingling in my fingers and feet. Fortunately, it passes after a short time and does not cause major discomfort. Sometimes these things are mellow enough I want to pretend that they are not happening. I keep hoping that just by giving up gluten I will become symptom-free. It has been two weeks now and I must admit that so far I have no real evidence to support my wish. I guess the good news is that I am learning to manage the "little somethings." I have not had a major panic attack in a few weeks. I am learning to identify the physical and mental triggers for my anxiety. When I identify a trigger I react quickly to calm myself and quiet my mind and breath. Now the "little somethings" don't get me as down.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I have never been one for mediocrity in the past but now I am trying to make peace with just that. My sister suggested that the key to contentment might be lowering one's standards as far as one can and still feeling ok about it. I suspect that this attitude might help my overall outlook on life. Although I have backed off on the number of things I am doing in general, I have still been getting most of my boost from my little achievements. Now I think I need to find my boost elsewhere.

Yesterday I got an evaluation from a Thursday walk through of my classroom. Things actually went well during the walk through and I expected some decent feedback but when I read my review, it was poorer than what I had hoped for. I really took it to heart. For nearly 24 hours I wracked my brain for how to do better. I was angry at myself for not doing more. I was also guilty that I don't even want to try making any major changes to my modus operandi at work. As I thought more about work, I did think of little ways to do things better but I also concluded that if what I am dishing out is mediocre, I must learn to accept this too. I know how many hours I put in after work and at home. I know how hard I have been trying to give the kids and my lessons the best of myself. I also know just how exhausting it is to get one kid to focus and take care of business, let alone 20. While I never want to be mediocre, I realize that I also need to be less hard on myself or I am going to drive myself nuts.

Sometimes it seems that my job is all-consuming. Even when I am not doing it, work is all I think about. I realize I really need to find balance, not work more or try harder. Perhaps if I can connect with what I really want, what gives me joy, what really makes life worthwhile, I can stop stressing so much about my job. I am tired of being angry at myself and of judging myself. I am tired of being tired all the time and feeling bad because when the day ends, all I really want is to sit at home and do nothing. I want to look forward to things again, not just make it through the day. I want to feel good about what I have done and not the things I have not done.

There is often great pleasure in a single moment but I am often too busy thinking about tomorrow to enjoy now. I want to learn to enjoy now again. I remember what it felt like to take a high dose of steroids. I dream of feeling more like that naturally. I felt so sharp, capable, focused and present. Things took as long as they took and I didn't worry about how I should be doing something else at any given moment. It can be a big challenge but that is how I want to feel. That feeling, of course, was not mediocre but I wonder if I could be mediocre and still find a way to feel like that.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Nobody promised all peaches and cream

Ever since Monday I have been working hard on my intention to focus on "what I have and not what I stand to lose." It helps. Even the tough stuff like sorting out personal finances has not been as challenging. Nevertheless, it's not peaches and cream either.

Work is still my biggest challenge. I am having a hard time focusing or getting myself to buckle down and really get things done. For the first time in my life, I feel totally scattered. The kids are scattered as well so I wonder if we are egging each other on. It seems the minute I focus on one kid, the rest go nuts. I have never taught a group with so little sense of boundaries. They constantly touch everything on my desk while I talk to them. If I tell a kid, "Just a minute" and then turn back to the kid I am working with, the kid waiting will get on a computer without permission and turn on You Tube. Where do these kids come from? Is it them, me or both? As I feel better and more confident, I keep resolving, "Today will be better, I'll be more on top of things." Then, later on, it's chaos as usual.

According to my own calculations, here's "what I have." I make a pretty decent salary. I get a lot of vacation. I have health insurance. We are still covering our mortgage, car payments and student loans in a time where many people are losing everything. Right now we are both in decent health and so are our pets. I also get my check whether the kids learn or not and whether they behave. This said, I always want to do a good job. What I do have though is job security and that is a lot in these times. It might not be peaches and cream but it's also not Top Ramen so 10 points Nadja, zero points naughty kids.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Well, I felt another life update was in order right about now so here it goes. I stopped taking the Celexa on Thursday after my doctor's partner noted that it might be causing my bowel symptoms. Friday I felt even worse. I was tired, headachy and nauseaous. On Saturday, I felt rotten too and I also felt really down. Lo and behold, I awoke on Sunday feeling much better. I didn't even have to get out of bed for the first time until 7:00 am. I was not nauseaous and as the day progressed, I realized that I felt the best I had in a month. Today I also felt pretty good so it may be that the Celexa was responsible for much of my anguish of late.

I just got back from therapy and I must say I really do like my therapist. She suggested that we build a "tool kit" of ideas and things I could do when I feel down or anxious. She actually told me that for homework I should go buy a kid's tool kit and start putting ideas in there to bring to my next session. Good idea!

I thought I could start brainstorming ideas here.
1) yoga is always helpful
2) breath practice helps
3) Listening to my new guided meditation CD "Breaking Through Pain" by Shinzen Young
4) teaching yoga
5) visualizing myself in the yoga room
6) Telling myself, "Everything you need for a beautiful life is inside you"
7) Remembering I promised my husband that I "wouldn't give up"
8) Listening to good music
9) Living in the moment and one bit at a time
10) Giving myself credit for what I have done, not what I haven't
11) Remembering what I "have," not what I stand to lose
12) Remembering my accomplishments (even small ones) and not dwelling on my failures
13) Focusing on what I "can do" not on what I "can't"
14) My family (especially my husband)
15) My friends
16) My pets
17) Looking ahead but not worrying about the future, just doing what I can when I can
18) Viewing myself through my own eyes instead of the lens I perceive others might view me through
19) Remembering that in April "I lived" and I was grateful
20) Remembering that I still have many things to offer even if my life has changed

I will try to keep adding to this as I think of ideas. I'm not sure if all of this is what my therapist had in mind but it felt good to do it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Gratitude with Attitude

I just received this award from Lisa along with the following instructions:
Here are the rules:

* Put the logo on your blog or post.
* Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!
* Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
* Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
* Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award.

Thanks again Lisa: I hope I got the tech part of this right. Here's my list.

Joan's Short in the Cord
Diane's A Stellar Life
Bugs, Bikes and Brains
Serina's Blog
The Life of BMW
Sunshine and Moonlight
Merely Me's Multiple Synchronicities and Sclerosis
Lazy Julie
One Life
Curioser and Curioser

happy reading,

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Brief Update

It seems I am still on the mental mend. I realized the other day that once I get through the morning, the day always gets easier so I have been using that fact to psyche myself up. I am still having morning stomach troubles but I just emailed my doctor again. I usually first awake at 3:30 or 4:00 with insistent bowels and have to go at least 3 times before 10:30 (I know TMI). Unfortunately, things get so insistent I have to keep getting out of bed. This leaves me really tired. I also have been getting nauseated during these early morning hours and it takes a while for things to settle down so mornings are pretty rough. I guess the biggest change is that I have not been getting overly anxious about it even though it's hard. I also have been much less depressed.

Work is still a huge pain. New kids from Mexico keep enrolling. I have never had so many newcomers in my life. I have assistance at times with my awful sophomore class but so far it has been little help. I think the biggest change has been in my attitude. I keep trying my hardest and doing my best with the kids but I am owning fewer of the problems. I figure my best is all I can do. I can keep trying to be a better teacher but it is not all my fault that the kids are scattered and ill-behaved. I did call some parents tonight and put some of the ownership back on them. At least the kids will know I'm serious...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Trying to turn a new leaf

One day at a time, one day at a time, I'm trying to turn the corner and forget the darkness that has long been clouding my mind. Today is better than yesterday and yesterday was better than the day before so perhaps I'm on my way.

There have been times where I have railed against this thing with claws and teeth... I have succumbed to moments of near madness. Sometimes the anger has consumed me. Other times it has seemed that the anxiety would eat me alive yet here I stand, one woman warring against the darkness. When I pause here, I remember that through it all I have met my most pressing obligations. I have gone to work and tried my hardest. I have continued to teach yoga. I have gone to yoga myself as much as possible and I have faced it all with little except the faith that this to shall pass.

Some say that the path to transformation is pathed with suffering. Perhaps I have been putting in my dues. It seems that in my toughest moments, I have found words and a voice to soothe others. I taught yoga today while I was sick and yet I found the tranquility it takes to guide a beautiful class. My voice was calm, my breath was full and steady and from my discomfort, a peace emerged. In longer moments, I have been finding this peace again. I imagine that the hardest may yet be in front of me but I am trying to fill my mind and soul with a rememberance of the peace I feel when I do and teach yoga.

I am starting to read a book my mother sent me called "Break Through Pain" by Shinzen Young. It also has a CD of guided practice. I listened to it a bit today and found myself soothed. I was thinking I could listen to it on the way to work when I often feel the worst. It may not free me of my morning nausea but perhaps it will help me continue to calm my mind in ways that allow me to face my day with grace. I want so badly to learn from the difficult times of late. I want to learn to accept myself and my limitations more. I want to better know myself. I want to move beyond the place where I can only think of now to a place where I can be in the now but view the future without anxiety. Right now I am ok. I want to remember that even during the hard times. Everything I need for a beautiful life is already inside of me.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Some Days...

I have made it this far and this long through one of the hardest times in my life just by living one day at a time. Somehow I keep finding the ability to keep going when I most need to. Sometimes it seems like I can hardly do it, either my head is in the way or my body is but one way or another, I keep on keeping on at least enough to meet my obligations. I am grateful that most of the times when I feel the roughest do not coincide with anything I need to do. Luckily, today is one of those days.

Physically I am feeling awful. My neck aches, my head aches, my stomach is upset and I have been fighting nausea all morning. It seems I may have a touch of migraine but maybe I'm just feeling really crappy. So far I have not found the tonic to take away my syptoms but up to this point luck has always propelled me to feeling better when I need to so I trust that if I lay low today, I'll feel fine tomorrow.

I feel like my exacerbation is behind me so I think that the way I am feeling must just be the result of other factors. I felt sick on Friday too after working over twelve hours on Thursday and last night, I stayed out late so maybe that did it. Anyway, no use second guessing this. I am just going to focus my energy on feeling better for tomorrow because I have quite a bit planned.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A light beyond the tunnel...

I see it, I do. Things are still a little hard but I think they are getting better. I am learning to calm myself without taking anxiety meds. I am taking the pressure off and using the help that comes my way.

My acupuncturist commented that I was holding myself differently than in the past. That made me think I need to make a change and find my self confidence and assurance again. Maybe the kids have seen my sweat and that is why they are taking advantage. Now I am using my breath, authority and reason to reign us all back in.

I like to help others and lend them strength. That makes me feel good. I am going to try to do more of that. My new mantra is: "This is a marathon, not a sprint so stop, slow down and breath." Some days may be harder than others but I remember now that it is good to be alive!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tunnel Vision

I am lost in my own labyrinth and completely self-absorbed. I just want to take a moment to thank everyone who has reached out to me lately. I imagine many of my responses have been less than satisfactory. For that, I must apologize. Thanks to all my friends and family who keep reaching out even though I have so little to offer right now. You are all in my thoughts even if I seem to have disappeared.

Pat left me a beautiful quote that inspires me to fight on towards a better state of mind and a greater goal. - ““To be a warrior is not a simple matter of wishing to be one. It is rather an endless struggle that will go on to the very last moment of our lives. Nobody is born a warrior, in exactly the same way that nobody is born an average man. We make ourselves into one or the other.””
Carlos Castaneda

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday Blues

I slept until 5:45 without interruption (a record of late) but as soon as I got up to go to the bathroom it was as though a weight had settled on my chest. Again I was completely filled by the sorrow I had spent most of Saturday trying to squelch. I burrowed back under the convers and tried to forget.

I was up again within two hours, just as miserable. I repeated this cycle several times, telling myself I should quit dwelling, go to yoga and try to forget this silliness. And still it lingered.

My husband went off to canvass for Obama and still I lay in bed. It had now been almost twelve hours and more than one klonopin since I lay down and still I was not ready to venture out. I set an alarm for 11:00 am and planned to go to yoga. The alarm sounded and still I lingered. It was not a luxuriating linger, it was a tortured knife in my heart lingering. My husband returned at about 11:45 and tried to talk me out of bed and yet still, I could not rouse myself. I lay there tortured, knowing that at some point I must arise...

My husband's plans and presence at last pulled me out of bed. I determined not to waste any more of the day. I decided to go to a yoga class. Ultimately, I did many things today. The more I did, the better my mental state. I still fear for tomorrow because my stomach still has yet to settle but it's not as bad as it was and physically I am starting to feel quite a bit better. I am trying to set more realistic goals for myself and my students, reminding myself that one way or another, they will learn.

When I am anxious and sad I have been trying to visualize a place or a thing that makes me feel happy and peaceful. Up until now I have had little success but I realized that in yoga both yesterday and today that when I lay in the warm yoga room and closed my eyes, I was filled with peace. I am going to try imagining that space the next time I find myself filled with sorrow. It seems there are a few more moments now where I can find a place of content without my own mental torture for a few hours. A few hours today, a few tomorrow and maybe soon the day will come when I refind and redefine myself in ways that I can accept.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

We all need somebody to lean on

Being unhealthy both physically and mentally is teaching me new things. I have been holding on to control for so long that I don't even know how to take or receive help. It's actually rather pathetic considering I spend most of my time giving to others but there's my pathology in a nutshell. I always have to be able to take care of all my committments and responsibilities alone. It is not ok to bend and it is certainly not ok to break. Yet I find my barriers are now worn to tatters and just a mere acquaintance asking, "How are you?" brings me to tears. I am so vulnerable. I am a tiny, rootless leaf on the wind and I am easily blown into a tumultuous state. I have held on so hard and so long and taken on so much and now I am seeing that I just cannot do this anymore. It doesn't mean that I will never be competent again. It means that I need to accept all the help and offers being made to me without feeling guilty.

I had a complete breakdown at work today. Actually I had two mini-breaks and one big one. I went in late and skipped my plan period because my anxiety was out of control. Everything I eat has been rushing through me and I frequently dry heave in the morning. It feels horrific. I did make it to work but this was one of those days I probably should have just taken the day off.

First, I cried over my lunch to my sister in law. Then, when kids came in I dropped a tear or two when they asked if I was angry. Then, I dropped another tear or two at their compassion. I was a soggy wreck and PMS was not helping.

During the next class the big meltdown came. I caught a student throwing paper and when I tried to send him to the class next door, the rest of the class got out of control. They started making a ton of noise and then giant balls of paper whizzed through the air. They even threw a couple dictionaries. It was like a war zone with me in the center. Rather than assuming control, I just started crying and cleaning up the mess. Two of my students went for adult back up at that point. Security showed up and I sobbed to him about how embarassed I was and how awful the situation had become. He called the assistant principal and the dean and they came in and restored order with sterness and threats. I was mortified. Never in my whole career has it come to this...

Now when I look back, I am not sorry or ashamed that any of this happened because others around me saw I needed help and came to the rescue. The dean said she was going to start coming in to help me here and there. My assistant principal was very understanding and said I need to take care of myself. He got my friend to ask the principal if it's ok for me to start work an hour late when I need to since I have first block plan and feel the worst in the morning. My principal agreed. My friend also helped me solve some other work issues and my department head also asked how she could support me. All the caring and support I got today went a long way. I am glad to know I am not in this alone. Now I just need to learn to manage my anxiety and ask for help when I need it instead of waiting until I have a crisis.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wednesday to Wednesday- A week in review

Last Tuesday night I noticed that my cat Apollo seemed ill. He was not eating and had puked several times. My neighbor(who works for a vet)came by and evaluated his condition. She determined he had a UTI and said we should get him to the vet as soon as possible. I needed to go to work so I scheduled him in for 5:00 pm the next day.

Wednesday dawned and I found my cat huddled in the bathroom under a table looking near death. I started to cry. I realized I could never live with the guilt if I came home to find him dead so I called in for work the morning at the last minute. I was a mess!

I finally got him to the vet and they said I had brought him just in time. They kept him there all day on an IV and gave him medicine. When I finally picked him up, he was much better. $500.00 later I got to take my pet home. It was worth every penny.

Throughout the week, his health continued to improve. I was proud of giving him his medicine without any help (I know it's not a big deal but I was proud).

Today we had his follow up and he is healthy. Yeah! I bought him a healthcare plan so he can get his teeth cleaned and get his vaccinations. Total kitty costs will come to about $900.00 for the year. This is rather ironic, because that's exactly the amount I have in a medical savings plan for my own health care costs beyond insurance. Still, heatlhy cat= mentally healthy cat's mom.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lunchtime update

Well, I barely made it to blogland this weekend despite best intentions. This is really turning out to be a one day at a time thing. Sometimes I have an emotional breakthrough and for a short while I can really, literally breath with my whole lungs and the world seems right and beautiful again.

I find it hard to maintain this state. My physical health seems to be affecting my mental and vice versa so I'm really trying to focus on improving my mental state for myself and those around me. I think that every time my brain peeks out from behind its cloud for a little I feel better. Conversely, the minute I feel ill it is harder to keep my thinking positive. I am trying not to stress about work but sometimes I get really overwhelmed and/or disappointed by how the year is playing out. I am working hard now to find balance and to not get ahead of myself.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A long road

I was hoping to post something uplifting, inspiring and insightful... Alas, it's just not there. It takes a while for depression to lift. I am told the meds themselves take about 6 weeks to kick in so I have about 5 to go. Right now I just have to try to live one day at a time and not let myself sink into the shadows.

Little things seem to help some. Breathing is still very important. Yoga also seems to help whether I am teaching or doing. It is also helpful to keep a little busy. I want to sleep and forget but that is not the only way.

I like my new therapist. She's seems goal/solution oriented and I think she will help me find tools to manage my life better so that it feels less anxious and out of control.

Friends and family help too, as does blogging. Last night I chatted with Joan from "A Short in the Cord" and some other awesome ladies in the Delaware chat room. That was helpful. It gave me a sense of community and it made me realize that even when work is hard, it can be a positive place to filter my energy. I was reminded that I am lucky to have the capacity to still work full time and to contribute to my home and family.

Beyond these things, I find that I have little to say. My brother and sister both reminded me that this period of hardship shall pass. My sister also said that when you're not depressed, you don't have to think of or remember a reason to keep living life. I think she's right. Before I felt so anxious and sad there were many things that gave me pleasure. Getting going every day was not such a trial, it just sort of happened without much thought or mental anguish. I looked forward to things and enjoyed many things as well. I think I can get back there, it's just not going to happen quickly. In the short term, I am trying to find ways not to wallow and ways to be less hard on myself.

Friday, September 26, 2008

30 second update

I'm on lunch right now for five minutes. I am recovering from my relapse slowly but surely and working toward mental health. I meet with my new therapist for the first time today. I shoule be alive and well in blogland this weekend. I am almost there! Thanks for all your continued support.
Nadja :)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fog lifting?

I think the fog that has been pulling me down is beginning to lift a little. I don't feel quite so overwhelmed anymore. Maybe this is just Klonopin-speak but I don't feel so undone. I have suspected that perhaps I was having a relapse due to the physical discomfort and uncharacteristic angst but I just wasn't sure because it has been different than last time.

Last time I was violently ill and the world was crooked. I saw double and my balance was shakey. This time around I have had motion sickness, strange nerve pulses on my skull, neck and arms and this terrible sense that I am too weak to handle that which lies before me.

I slept well last night with the help of a little Klonopin. I awoke feeling less anxious than I have in a while. I took my anti-depressant and only a quarter of my Klonopin and went to work. I felt only slightly panicked instead of the full-fledged anxiety of late. It was hard but I got going after a bit. I had a short scare in my yoga class when a student threw out her knee but I did not freak out. In the end it was ok.

When I returned from teaching yoga I had two urgent messages from my doctor. He had spoken to the neurologist and they had agreed that a round of steroids were in order again. This time I only need to take them for a week and I only have to start with 60 mg. of prednisone instead of 500. I am rather relieved to learn that I am not going nuts and I am optomistic about feeling like myself again soon. I do not know what this means for my long-term treatment or prognosis but I guess my MS is not benign after all. Surprisingly this comes as a relief. Now I don't have to wonder if the other shoe will ever drop. I guess it will sometimes and I cannot control it so I just need to make the best of today.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Where I seem to be living

I find myself swallowed into the deepest, darkest cavern that I have ever known and I cannot seem to find a light.
I crawl on bare knees, constantly seeking smoother ground.
I call out into the depths but there is no answer.
I find myself alone here, girded for battle yet terrified.

I feel dull about the edges.
A cold numb, paws at my insides but flames seem to dance along my skull.
The flames lick about on my neck and down my arms and I howl into the abyss seeking relief.

I let my tears rain for days
But there is no relief.
Now I am spent but hollow.
I seek a reason to put one foot before the other.
I seek a reason to get up every day and try again.

The world has lost is flavor.
Everything seems dulled now.
Music barely stirs me
Food is losing its taste
Sleep is marred by demons
Or worse,
By waking to find that nothing has changed.

This is not what I want
This is not the self I recognize
I am not the me I want to be
I don't know what the hell I want--

Friday, September 19, 2008

Quick Update 9/19/08

The day dawned rocky. I could not get a grip on my anxiety so I just kept trying to go back to sleep. It didn't help but finally my doctor called and I told him about all the physical discomfort, depression and anxiety I have been feeling. He prescribed two medications for me to try. I got Clonazepam (Klonopin) for my panic attacks and anxiety and Citalophram (Celexa) for depression and anxiety. The Klonopin is suppossed to provide quick relief and is for temporary use and the Celexa will take a while to kick in but will treat my depression and anxiety. In the past I never would have even considered these meds but now I think that the lesions on my brain may be affecting my emotional balance and so I'm going to give these meds a try. The doctor also told me that the Klonopin may help reduce some of the MS related symptoms I have been having like nerve tingles, nausea and dizziness. He said I have to believe this will work for me in order to experience the full benefits. I will certainly pay attention in the next few weeks to see if this stuff helps. My doctor is also going to talk to my neurologist.

Once I dealt with the doctor I spoke to a representative at the National MS Society to see about counseling. They do not offer any free counseling in my area but they are going to refer me to a case manager.

I also spoke to the Mental Health Department at Kaiser and the lady was really helpful. She is pretty certain she can refer me out to a female therapist in my area early next week. I also learned that my co-pay is only $20.00 for each visit and I can have up to 20 a year. Taking charge of my situation is helping.

I called in to work today so I could relax but at first the day was almost unbearable. It took a ton of effort to make it out the door and to the pharmacy. I was having a panic attack even in the pharmacy and I kept thinking I might puke. Fortunately, I have yoga. I taught a noon yoga class to adults and by the time I was done practicing and breathing with them my anxiety had passed. Now I am feeling quite a bit better. I took my new meds just now so I'll see how they treat me. I figure that even if they are not the ticket, I managed to get out of the house, take care of finding support and taught a yoga class so I am taking positive steps toward managing my life and my disease. Sometimes I feel like giving up but instead I am forcing myself to fight on.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Head above water but just barely

I'll keep this very brief. Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment on my last post. Here's a quick update.

1) I contacted the MS society about counseling and they emailed me back and it sounds like they can help get me started.
2) I emailed my general doctor about my symptoms and asked a) about medication and b) about if I should make an appointment
3) I talked to my husband about all my anxieties and I realize that I am not alone in this.

I am taking Friday off to relax, teach some yoga, maybe go to the doctor and to find a counselor. I am trying to live in the moment. I have made it to work for two days already and now I just have to try to hang on for two more.

I am less angry and depressed but I am having regular anxiety attacks that are manifesting physically so that sucks. My other physical symptoms go in and out. Sometimes I feel ok and other times I feel very nauseated and dizzy. I let my doctor know so we'll see what he says. If my presence on the blogosphere is sparse for a few, know that I'll be around whenever I can.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

No use pretending, I need some help

On Wednesday I put up a horrifyingly honest post that found tons of support but I myself could hardly hack its pathetic tone so on Thursday, I took my own advice and bucked up for a few.

On Friday I read Blindbeard's post partially in response to my own and some things started to become clear to me. In regards to having MS she commented, "I will never act like it is better than it is, and I WILL say what I think about it all, whether they want to hear it or not." Up to this point, such an attitude has not been in my nature. True, I goaded the same Blindbeard on to do as she pleased whenever she pleased. I also noted that I am my own best teacher. I noted that at first this illness almost killed me, but still I have never stopped being a poster child for hope. While it still horrifies me, I am going to admit it... I am not coping well these days.

Many of my fellow MSers encouraged me towards considering anti-depressants. I thought to myself, "Wednesday's post must have sounded really depressed for people to think this. I'm just having menstrual symptoms and an existential crisis." I am now forcing myself to admit that I am not coping well at all and this may be more than an existential crisis. I have been depressed many times before but never like this. Now I don't just feel sad, I feel destructive and angry. Actually, I feel like I cannot even uphold the veneer that everything is alright. My ability to control my emotions is wearing thin to the point I even yelled at my mom on the phone this morning for no reason and then proceeded to throw the phone at the wall while screaming "F-----!" loud enough to leave my dog shaking.

I think Blindbeard is right: there is no sense in pretending that living with MS is just fine. At times it is and at other times, it really is not. I also believe my fellow MSers who say the first few years are the hardest. My mom, who of course forgave and understood my outburst said, "You're grieving." She's right. I am grieving. I am grieving the loss of the woman I was. That woman was actually quite imperfect but she put on a really great show. She could do whatever task was laid out for her with seeming ease. She did not make bad social slip ups like I did today and she did a very good job of acting like everything was ok even when it was not. Now the worse I feel physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, the harder it becomes to put a good face on things. I really hate to be vulnerable. I don't even like to be touched for the most part and now I find that the shell I have protected myself with for so long has worn very thin in places and even when I want to pretend, I just can't. Sometimes my husband looks at me and asks, "Are you sure you're ok?" Just the question tells me that I'm not hiding my feelings very well anymore. Yesterday a woman I didn't even know said to me, "You look tired." Yeah, I feel that way too.

My mental state is not being helped by my physical one at all. I just plain don't feel good. Every day it's something. I vacilate between a variety of invisible symptoms. I have back and neck aches, skull pain, dizziness, vision difficulties at times and some vertigo. I suspect all the symptoms are vertigo related so that's where my plea for help comes in. Can some other MSers please sound off here on a few questions I have?
1) What antidepressants do you suggest?
2) Is it just part of MS to feel a little ill all the time or is there something I can do?
3) What do you take for skull pain, headaches, dizziness and vertigo? For instance: is there a medication for vertigo that I could ask my doctor about or do I just learn to live with this?
4) Do I consult my neurologist or my general doctor about the physical symptoms?
5) What free mental health services can I get from my local MS Society Chapter?

Thanks in advance for your help and support. The "together" me wants to apologize for all my depressed posts of late but the advice I keep getting is "don't be so hard on yourself, quit apologizing, this is normal" so I'll just be honest, I need some help now.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It's times like these

I have been deeply touched by all the kind and loving words left on my blog over the last few days. The cloud is beginning to lift a little. I slept through the night and found no fear. When I was at my sickest in April, I used the prayers and love of people I both knew and barely knew to draw me back toward health and light. Now I find myself doing so again.

Yesterday and today I talked to a friend at work who told me she too was in dark times. She said she was crying too, for many of same reasons I am. She may not have MS, but she understood my pain and confusion.

I talked to the school couselors and they told me that many people at work are confronting similar challenges. One of them told me, "You are one of the best teachers in this building, don't be so hard on yourself." That really lit a fire under me and I had a great day yesterday nurturing the kids. I thought to myself, "I didn't get a 'strong at the broken places award' just to wallow."

I buoyed myself with all your supports. I wrapped myself in my best friend's virtual hug and I found some strength again.

Yesterday on One Life the author noted that part of meditating and mindfulness is allowing ourselves to feel what we feel and not trying to terminate it. He commented that in depression there can be a well of creativity. What a wise man. My sadness is inspiring me to dig deeper inside myself to find answers to life's challenges. He inspired me to embrace my feelings rather than feel guilt about them. In fact, many of you have inspired me to do this.

Today is a day to look beyond ourselves and remember. I was listening to the radio at 6:45 am when they commemorated the time the first plane hit the world Trade Center on 9/11. The dj played a song in honor of the vicitims and their families. The song he played was "It's times like these" by the Foo Fighters. He said the song represented for him healing and climbing from the ashes. Today it spoke to me. The chorus said,
"It's times like these you learn to live again
It's times like these you give and give again
It's times like these you learn to love again
It's times like these time and time again"

In these words I found reason and inspiration that I now take with me into a day that's much bigger than me or my issues.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Buck up

I keep telling myself to buck up. I keep reminding myself that I am strong. I keep telling myself, I can do this but here I am in despair. Every day at work gets a little harder. I cry in the car both ways. I tell myself to get over it already but I just can't seem to do it.

Why do I cry? I cry because I feel inadequate as one teacher trying to climb uphill and make a difference for my kids. I cry because every morning I feel sick until almost 10 am and question whether I can make it through the day. I cry because I keep asking myself, "How am I going to get through the day? How am I going to make it through the week? How am I going to support myself and my family for the next 30 years? How can I keep doing this day in and day out when I feel so lousy and tired?"

Even my sleep is troubled now. I am afraid to turn the wrong way in bed. I am afraid one tiny dizzy spell will become full-blown vertigo. I am afraid and panicked about a lot these days.

In some ways I really miss the old me. I used to be so confident and full of energy. I felt so certain of what I wanted and so sure in my convictions. Now I think about how I need to save my sick days. I think I have trapped myself in one school with one position that I will never be able to leave because I need health insurance and I need to pay my bills. When I got sick I thought that I could really change myself and my path. I was fearless. Now I am caught in a spiral of destructive thinking where I hate myself for being so depressed and so full of uncertainty. I thought it was all a matter of changing your thinking but now I can't seem to change it. And under it all, there is deep guilt. I really want to create a good expereince for the kids. I want them to learn but I am always wishing that I had done a better job. There are so many levels in my classes and try as I might, I just cannot come up with a way to meet all those different needs every class, every day.

Does this mean that I need to make a change? Frankly, I just keep telling myself that I will push through the challenges of everyday life because I must. I also keep telling myself to pull it together. I used to do all this with such ease. I should at least be able to somehow maintain the basics of my life, meet my responsibilities and not need to rely on others to keep my life in order.